DENVER — The Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (C-MATT) is asking for more cities and counties to help them combat the rising number of stolen vehicles.
The task force builds criminal cases against suspects of auto theft for district attorneys to prosecute.
"We'll do forensics and send that to the lab and try to identify a suspect from there," said Mike Greenwell with C-MATT.
The task force has been successful in catching vehicle theft suspects but one issue that the task force has is manpower, according to C-MATT.
"We do have good partnerships with every agency," said Greenwell. "But the vast majority of them do not elect to send someone to C-MATT."
Denver, Lakewood, Adams County, Wheat Ridge, Northglenn and Colorado State Patrol all provide resources to C-MATT. Glendale Police plans to join the unit in July.
The Aurora Police Department (APD) has three members on the task force, for now. APD plans to take back the three members for reassignment, even as Arapahoe County has seen more than 4,000 stolen vehicles since 2020.
According to APD, the members assigned to the task force were a sergeant, an agent and an officer.
"These officers will be temporarily reassigned for the time being," Agent Matthew Longshore of APD told 9NEWS. "Auto theft cases will still be investigated by APD Officers and Detectives, and any high-profile, organized crime, or frequent offender cases, even happening in Aurora, will continued to be investigated by C-MATT. This Task Force has metro-wide investigating authorities and APD will continue working closely with them."
C-MATT does not have a deputy from Jefferson County, despite the sheriff's office participating in the task force, according to Greenwell. Jefferson County has seen a 33 percent increase in auto theft compared to the same period last year, C-MATT data shows.
"The flow of information, that's really what makes our ability to be successful happen," Greenwell said.
Greenwell said that C-MATT would like to see members from Commerce City, Westminster, Broomfield and Arvada. The task force said they would even cover the cost of an officer's salary using funds from the Colorado Auto Task Prevention Authority.
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